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I am still processing the fruits of the World Meeting of Families Congress, Festival of Families and Papal Mass in Philadelphia. I wanted to share with you some of my highlights.

  • Suzy Ismail, a Marriage Therapist who is Muslim shared wisdom on marriage and family. In marriage, the couples are garments for each other giving warmth and protection. In building a family, we must first build faith in ourselves and  in interfaith and interchurch relationships we must focus on common beliefs remembering that families are important and exists to bring us closer to God.  In building a family, as a therapist she works on four area:  facilitating marriage and self-awareness to use opportunities to build community, pre-marriage counseling (they rely on programs of the Catholic Church), follow-up with couples after marriage every 6 months, and provide faith based marriage and family counseling (including children) as needed.  Couples are encouraged to have a set couple prayer time, to integrate prayer in all they do.  By focusing on couple and family faith we become contagious; drawing other to God.
  • Not only did the Mormon Church donate ½ million dollars to the events, they provided a workshop on the “Principles and Activities that Unify Mormon Families.” Family prayer takes place daily at a time that works best for the family.  It might be in the morning before all leave the house for work and school or after dinner.  All family members take part in preparing and leading and the scripture often involves whatever the family/children may be struggling with such as honesty, trust, etc.  If a child doesn’t want to participate on a given day that is fine, but they must sit with the family during prayer time.  Every week there is one night “Family Home Evening” which incorporates some family fun with the family prayer.  Family time also includes ancestry research since family includes appreciating and learning from our ancestors.  It develops belonging and purpose.

Here is a typical “Family Home Evening”

  • Opening Song
  • Opening Prayer
  • Family Business (calendar items, grocery lists, any concerns)
  • Lesson (5 minutes on attributes to be more Christ like)
  • Scripture
  • Closing Song
  • Closing Prayer
  • Treat

o   Family outdoor/indoor play

Here are some of the thoughts from two families:

  • Family 1: The family gathers for prayer every morning before leaving the house.  The day goes better if the family begins the day with prayer.  They also pray each evening at dinner.  If a child does not want to participate, they must sit with the family.  “You cannot bring an unholy presence to something that is holy. “  This practice diminishes conflict and increases harmony.  They find “Family Home Evenings” are some of their favorite family times.  All are usually in a good mood.  Grandma often gives the lesson and they also talk about what they learned in Sunday school.  The college sibling said although, college is awesome, it “stinks” that she is not gathering with her family in the morning each day.  The prayer time “organizes us”.  They do “family Home Evening” on campus.  The traditions built are important in inspire us.
  • Family 2:  They gather every evening for payer after dinner.  If you don’t participate, you lose a privilege such as a bedtime story).   It’s a time when they show genuine care for each other.  They often include games with their scripture lesson on Family Home Evening.  They play dodgeball or jump on the trampoline.  The ancestry research is important because the family has been part of the church for a long time and they can’t break the chain.

To read more on the presentation, click here.

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Synod on the Family – by Joshua Danis

October 30th, 2015posted by farloffice

So what is a Synod?

A Synod is a gathering of bishops to gather and discuss spirituality and church experience around a specific are of concern.  An ordinary synod typically happens every three to four years and includes representative bishops from countries all over the world.  Extraordinary Synods can be called at any time and often involve leaders of just one region of the world.  These special events have been going on since they were called for in Vatican II, back in the 1960’s.  Though they represent the universal church, they are not the same as a council.  They are really more of a work group to help inform the Pope on a particular issue, but he makes all decisions about the final results.

Ever heard of such important documents as Familiaris Consortio, Christifideles Laici, or Evangelii Nuntiandi?  These are just a few of the church documents which were written based on the findings of previous synods.

What will be the Fruit of the Synod?

The short answer is that we don’t really know.  The pope can take the findings of the synod and do anything he wants with them.  He can accept everything the Bishops discussed or nothing.  More likely, he will highlight small pieces of their findings in his own unique statement down the road.  The best hint we have is probably Pope Francis’ own words about the Synod on the occasion of its conclusion last week.  He stated:

Certainly, the Synod was not about settling all the issues having to do with the family, but rather attempting to see them in the light of the Gospel and the Church’s tradition and two-thousand-year history, bringing the joy of hope without falling into a facile repetition of what is obvious or has already been said.

Surely it was not about finding exhaustive solutions for all the difficulties and uncertainties which challenge and threaten the family, but rather about seeing these difficulties and uncertainties in the light of the Faith, carefully studying them and confronting them fearlessly, without burying our heads in the sand.

It was about urging everyone to appreciate the importance of the institution of the family and of marriage between a man and a woman, based on unity and indissolubility, and valuing it as the fundamental basis of society and human life.

As we await the release of the final findings of the synod and the beginning of the Year of Mercy, I encourage you to keep praying that this will issue in a time of great renewal and grace for all of God’s people.

Jesus, Mary and Joseph, in you we contemplate the splendor of true love, to you we turn with trust.

Holy Family of Nazareth, grant that our families too may be places of communion and prayer, authentic schools of the Gospel and small domestic Churches.

Holy Family of Nazareth, may families never again experience violence, rejection and division: may all who have been hurt or scandalized find ready comfort and healing.

Holy Family of Nazareth, may the approaching Synod of Bishops make us once more mindful of the sacredness and inviolability of the family, and its beauty in God’s plan.

Jesus, Mary and Joseph, graciously hear our prayer. Amen


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Christ the King/Cristo Rey

October 27th, 2015posted by farloffice

Each year at the conclusion of the liturgical year, we fittingly celebrate the Solemnity of Christ the King.  As the Apostle St. Paul teaches us, “in [Jesus Christ] everything in heaven and earth was created…and continues in being” (Col 1:16-17).  He is the ‘Alpha and Omega’, the ‘Beginning and End’, the ‘Way, Truth, and Life’.  Indeed, Christ promises to His faithful friends the gift of salvation, the pledge of everlasting life through His Resurrection.  Therefore, faithful ness to Christ, our King, opens the door to our eternal happiness.  To read more, click here.

Cada año, en el último domingo del año litúrgico, celebramos la Solemnidad de Cristo Rey.  El Apóstol San Pablo nos enseña:  “En [Jesucristo] fueron creadas todas las cosa en el cielo y en la tierra,…y todo tiene en él su consistencia” (Col 1, 16-17).  Él es el Alfa y la Omega, el Principio y el Fin, el ‘Camino, la Verdad y la Vida’.  En efectro, Cristo promete a sus amigos fieles el don de la salvación, la promesa de la vida eternal por medio de su Resurrección.  Por lo tanto, la fidelidad a Cristo, nuestro Rey, abre la puerta a la felicidad eternal.  Leer más, haga clic aquí

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Reflections from the World Meeting of Families and US Papal Mass

September 30th, 2015posted by farloffice

During the week of September 22-25, hundreds of Roman Catholics from the Archdiocese of Cincinnati travelled to Cincinnati to attend the 2015 World Meeting of Families.

On Saturday, September 26, 170 pilgrims headed out of Dayton on buses through the Archdiocese of Cincinnati to attend the Papal Mass.

Below are reflections and pictures of this historic trip.

Click on this link to view pictures from Fr. John Kummer

Both Channel 9 and Channel 12 had coverage of the Papal Mass bus trip.

From St. Columban:

In Philadelphia:


An afternoon Wedding Mass at St. Bart’s, Cincinnati for my nephew Zach Kummer and his bride Kelsey Rose ushered in the beginning of a blessed and spectacular weekend!!!

Ordained in May of 1972, I had to skip the reception and head for Dayton. Our bus left about 8:30 pm as we went east to Philadelphia for an 8:30 am Sunday arrival.

Because I have limited mobility, I brought my compact, collapsible wheel chair with me. Little did I imagine the role it would provide.

Michael Vanderburgh, our Stewardship Office Director, put me in touch with layman Michael Tynan from Lima, Ohio. Thus Tynan became my trustworthy “pusher.”

We first picked up two Papal Mass tickets at the Convention Center and then proceeded to the Museum of Art.

We lucked out.

We attended the papal luncheon there. Great food and cardinals, bishops, priests and deacons galore. There is such thing as a free lunch!!!

At 1 p.m. it was time to vest and proceed to the Secret Service security check-in. There were long lines but because I was in the wheel chair, officials signaled Michael to push me ahead.

Quickly cleared we went a short distance and arrived at the Papal Mass venue on Benjamin Franklin Parkway. Our reserved Mass tickets had seating designations printed on them but local personnel said they were ignoring this information.

Here’s where Michael and I in my rolling “chari-ot” benefited. Workers had positioned a small, raised platform for priest concelebrants.

Would you believe? Michael and I were directed to an unobstructed front-row seat, fifty feet or so from the lectern. We saw it all clearly and even had better seats than our archbishop, Dennis Schnurr.

The Mass was multilingual: including some English, Vietnamese, Spanish and Latin. A small, keepsake Mass booklet was given to us.

After the liturgy we lined the route where the papal motorcade was to pass on its way to the airport. But it happened that we were on the driver’s side while Pope Francis was seated in the Fiat on the right side. So we got but a glimpse.

Then it was time to depart the city of brotherly love and sisterly affection that local Archbishop Chaput had renamed “Francisville.”

Our busses arrived back in Dayton about 9:30 am Monday morning. Upon approaching Need-more Rd, I led us in one verse of “Holy God” followed by “God Bless America.”

Thus ended the spectacular weekend. (Plus the Bengals won!!! of great joy to me, a forty-six year, season ticket holder.)

And yes, I got some mementoes: my $20 Francis doll, a red scarf courtesy of the archdiocese and even a yellow and white communion station umbrella.

What more to add than “Thanks be to God” for this tale of two Masses?

John R Kummer, retired


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Labor Day

September 9th, 2015posted by farloffice

Observed on the first Monday in September, Labor Day pays tribute to the contributions and achievements of American workers. It is a creation of the labor movement and is dedicated to the social and economic accomplishments of American workers. It constitutes an annual national acknowledgement to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country.

Out nations first Labor Day holiday was celebrated on Tuesday, September 5, 1882, in New York City, and it became a federal holiday in 1894 when President Grover Cleveland signed a bill designating the first Monday in September as Labor Day.

Even though it is not a religious celebration, Catholics happily celebrate it because it recognizes the value of an activity essential for human beings: work.

In most of the European and Latin American countries, the equivalent of Labor Day is celebrated on May 1, a date that Pope Pius XII wanted to include in the Catholic liturgical calendar, creating the Feast of St. Joseph the Worker.

The relationship between faith and work is not new in the Christian tradition. In the Gospel, Jesus includes workers, field laborers and shepherds in his parables to teach us about God and his Kingdom. And, the church has intimately linked these two activities: prayer and work. For this reason, Labor Day must be also a Day of Prayer for us Catholics. Both are intimately related; prayer is a kind of “work” — in the sense that it is an activity in itself — and that work must become a prayer, if lifted and offered up to God.

On Labor Day, while we have the opportunity of recognizing the efforts of workers, but let us also remember those who are unemployed or underemployed as well, and keep them in our prayers. There are a number of resources that offer prayers for the many causes that abound on Labor Day.

Prayer for Work

Creator God, thank you for providing us with the gift to share our talents. Provide our community, our nation, our world the fortitude to provide work for all which is decent and fair. Make us faithful stewards     of your creation     to enhance the human dignity     of our global family. We ask this in the name of Jesus, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit now and forever.


(From Being Neighbor: The Catechism and Social Justice, USCCB, April 1998)

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Mother’s Day

May 3rd, 2012posted by lniehaus

May God, the source of life, give you joy in the love, growth, and holiness of your children. Amen.  Book of Blessings Part III

Mother’s Day is celebrated on the second Sunday in May in the United States, as well as many other countries. Mother’s Day (aka Mothering Day) is celebrated usually in February, March, April or May in most countries. It is a day to celebrate all women who are mothers, or for whom mothering is a nurturing gift.
In the Catholic Faith, Mother’s Day is related to Mary the Mother of God and May is Mary’s month.
Mothers come in all shapes and sizes, from every walk of life, from very young to the most wise and elder among us. Thomas Merton writes that Mary is the mother of Christ in us. Others describe Mary as the mothering principle in us, and acknowledging the Holy woman she is, a woman of faith, with an awesome relationship with Jesus. Mary said, “yes” in response to God’s call to be the Mother of Jesus. Mothers today say “yes” in the call to be Mothers to all his children created in His image and likeness. Mothers Day (and every day) is a day of blessing and respect for the nurturing and loving gift of all Mothers. For all Moms, new Moms, expectant Moms, Birthmothers, Adoptive Mothers, Grandmothers, teachers, Nuns, each woman who takes the role of mothering in their everyday lives, we acknowledge and honor you.  To love, to nurture is to exemplify Christ to His children

Prayer for Mothers
Loving God, as a mother gives life and nourishment to her children,
So you watch over your church.
Bless our mother.
Let the example of her faith and love shine forth.
Grant that we, her family,
May honor her always with a spirit of profound respect.
Grant this through Christ our Lord.
Book of Blessings Part III

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May 2nd, 2012posted by jdanis

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We’re approaching that bittersweet time of year known as graduation.  Parents are often filled with mixed emotions as they anticipate this milestone for their child (children).  Like all special life-cycle events, it’s an important time for sharing memories.  Below are some ideas that might help ritualize this significant time in the life of your family:

*Assemble a photo album of memories from your child’s school years
*Make (or have made) a quilt out of special T-shirts your child has worn through the years
*Put together a scrapbook or special box for your child…a collection of memorabilia from their school years
*As family members to write down stories and memories of events that are shared with the graduate either on a graduation card or submitted earlier and compiled into a book
*Find a special prayer/poem, print it on special paper and make a plaque. 
*Make a card combining wisdom and humor to give the graduate.  Below are a few suggestions quickly found on the internet:

  •  “You are educatedYour certification is your degree.  You may think of it as the ticket to the good life.  Let me ask you to think of an alternative.  Think of it as your ticket to change the world.”  – Tom Brokaw
  • “Do not follow where the path may lead.  Go, instead, where there is no path and leave a trail.”  Ralph Waldo Emerson

     Or even…

  • “You have brains in your head.  You have feet in your shoes.  You can steer yourself in any direction you choose.  You’re on your own. And you know what you know.  You are the guy who’ll decide where to go.  Oh!, the Places You’ll Go – Dr. Seuss

Ideally, some of the above ideas will require forethought, some begun much ahead of time. But you can always adapt these ideas and come up with something clever and unique for your child with even a few day’s preparation.  “Google” Catholic blessings and prayers to incorporate in your family’s graduation celebration.  A great resource is Kathleen Chesto’s Family Prayer for Family Times.

Graduation Prayer

I have knowledge, so will You show me now,
How to use it wisely and find a way somehow
To make the world I live in, a little better place,
And make life with its problems a little bit easier to face.
Grant me faith and courage and put purpose in my days,
And show me how to serve Thee in effective ways.
So my education, my knowledge and my skill
May find their true fulfillment as I learn to do Thy will.
And may I ever be aware in everything I do,
That knowledge comes from learning, and wisdom comes from You. 
Bonnie Mack

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Parenting Pointer and Marriage Moment

October 4th, 2011posted by lniehaus


“I was in prison and you came to see me.” (Mt. 25:35) Now this might seem like a hard work of mercy to do with a child. Consider, however, that sending a child to her room or for “time out” is a kind of imprisonment. Give them a way to redeem themselves afterwards.  © 2011 Susan Vogt




Sometimes married couples have different biorhythms. Are you a “morning dove” while your spouse might be a “night owl” or vice versa? Have you worked out compatible bedtimes? If not, when do you cuddle?  © 2011 Susan Vogt


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World Communications Day – June 5, 2011

February 22nd, 2011posted by lniehaus

World Communations Day is June 5, 2011.  Below is a link to the Pope’s address to the people of God.

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November 19th, 2010posted by lniehaus

Welcome to the Family Life Office Blog!  Please feel free to view or post comments!

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